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The Pearl (Centennial Edition) Paperback – January 8, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Form is the most important thing about him. It is at its best in this work.” Commonweal
“[Steinbeck has] long trained his prose style for such a task as this: that supple unstrained, muscular power, responsive to the slightest pull of the reins.”Chicago Sunday Times
Top Customer Reviews
But Kino and his family, far from being depressed or unhappy, have a great treasure, the love they have for each other and their satisfaction with life as it is, with few disturbing dreams of greater things. But their quiet, routine life is turned upside down the day that Kino finds a Great Pearl. Suddenly Kino can dream of better things: a rifle for himself, school for his son so he will be able to read and tell what is really in the books, a real house. But dreams can be deadly things. Dreams lead to desire, and desire to greed, and greed to violence.
What happens to Kino and family from this point on is not a pretty story. Now we see that underneath the quiet, idyllic seeming small town and its inhabitants lie the seeds of cheating, betrayal, collusion, fear, and murder. And we see the gradual loss of Kino's real treasures. By the end of the book, events have reached the level of real tragedy, and you, along with Kino, are liable to end up in a state of emotional exhaustion.
Steinbeck's prose for this book matches his characters and situation very well, a very minimalist sentence structure and set of speech patterns.Read more ›
"The Pearl Of Great Price" from a parable in the Gospel of Matthew, attempts to teach with the same jewel from the sea. Mr. Steinbeck was also a great reader of medieval texts, and one of these morality plays was in the form of a poem written in the 14th Century, entitled "Pearl" although the Author is unknown. These three works are separated by millennia, but their commentary on the human condition is consistent.
Mr. Steinbeck wrote this after his triumph "The Grapes Of Wrath". The work was a monumental bestseller, it brought The Pulitzer Prize to the Author, and was rapidly made into a movie that is a classic in it's own right. Superficially one could argue Mr. Steinbeck achieved all that a writer might conceivably want, fame, fortune, and critical recognition.
Unfortunately, like his work, often when you feel something good is about to happen, a positive change for his characters that have struggled, and fought to survive, he slams you face down on bedrock's reality. The acclaim for his work brought him great discomfort as well. He was labeled a socialist, a communist, an agitator, and became the focus of FBI attention, and not because they liked his book. He viewed and detested the treatment the racism toward Mexicans in Southern California, and witnessed the so-called "Zoot Suit Riots" that resulted.
"The Pearl" might be called the lottery if it was written today.Read more ›
*The Pearl* eats at you on a lot of levels. I used the word "eats" specifically because it is a book that makes you terribly uncomfortable. There is no solace in its chapters - the beginning is happy; the ending bleak.
Kino is happy with his life - he thinks about his "ordinary morning, perfect morning" as the novella opens. He has so little, yet his happiness is complete until his child is bitten by a scorpion. It is really Juana's insistence that they go to a doctor that dooms Kino. Though the doctor never SAYS to Kino "You are an animal", Kino knows why the doctor refuses to treat Coyotito, and his anger at his own impotence begins to eat him alive. On some level, he believes that money, education will make him "human" to the eyes of others.
It is the ultimate irony that the pearl, which represents money (at least on one level), transforms him into what he was so unjustly called: an animal. Kino's desire to protect his "chance" causes him to behave in ways that he never would have dreamed. He beats his wife, acting on instinct at the exclusion of emotion, and is willing to sacrifice his family for what he sees within the pearl. He kills with pleasure, and while the killings are at least partially justified, he is unsettled by his own savagery. Kino is what he never before was - Steinbeck uses the word "animal" to describe his behavior on multiple occasions as he attempts to defend his pearl. It is the ultimate regression of his character from something that is human to something that almost isn't.
So, why does this unhappy parable make us so uncomfortable? Because it goes so against what we as a society believe.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was required reading for my daughters. I didn't read it personally, but they enjoyed the story.Published 11 days ago by Denese Dominguez
Good story. Steinbeck is concise in his descriptions and holds the reader along. There aren't many full points. Would have liked to have seen more out of Juana.Published 14 days ago by Christine
Not going to spoil but I will say I was not a fan of the ending. I wouldn't recommend I was just forced to read it for summer reading. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Jaret Bates
I'm using this book for one of my ESL classes. The language is simple enough, yet meaning is profound. The narrative is also fairly straightforward. But the themes are universal. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Tristan Beach
Required reading for my 7th grader! Great read on family, choices and decisions. Loved the analogy of hope resting on "the pearl" yet it's representation of evil and harm in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tiffaney Williams